Western Advantage

Academic Goal

To foster a love of learning, curiosity and community engagement by connecting curriculum learning and skill development to real world experiences.

Strong Academic Foundation

Western provides students with the opportunity to develop core skills, promote higher level thinking and engage in the experience of learning through:
  • Enhanced Project Based Learning
  • STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics)
  • Integrated Projects (across multiple curriculum subjects)
  • Specialized Programming
  • Field Trips and Experiential Learning
  • Leadership Opportunities
Subject courses at Western prepare students for any pathway they wish to explore post-secondary: university, college, apprenticeship and the workplace.

21st Century Skills

Acade­­­mics at Western focuses on not only delivering high level curriculum in all subject areas to students, but also on development of the skills needed to be successful post-secondary and in the workforce. Within our classrooms, students develop skills in a number of key areas including:
  • Use of various technologies
  • Collaborative and team building skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Problem solving and communication skills

Contextualized Learning

Within each core subject - Mathematics, English and Science - students are given the opportunity to connect their learning to their specialized program through activities designed specially to support their specialized programs. Further, academic programming at Western connects the curriculum inside our classrooms to real world experiences in the community.

Student Supports

Further, students are provided access to numerous supports to ensure their success and support their development. Academic Mentoring and tutoring Engaged teachers with access to support Lunch and Learn sessions in literacy and numeracy.  

STEAM is Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Mathematics, and Western is one of the leading examples of STEAM education in action. In addition to offering all the Science and Math courses that TDSB schools provide, Western has specialized program areas and courses like Engineering Robotics, The Design Studio and eleven strands of Technological & Arts Education that add valuable real-life practical experiences to all students’ academic studies, preparing them for a world where STEAM is an ever-increasing priority. Whether students are destined for University, College, an Apprenticeship, or the Workplace, Western allows students to experience the hands-on application of their knowledge right in high school, before they have to make the intellectual, financial, and emotional commitment to postsecondary studies and careers.


A Shared Vision

The mandate of the program is to encourage students to pursue leadership of all types within and beyond the classroom; to become informed and caring citizens. By doing so, the students will develop their academic, organizational, entrepreneurial, and interpersonal skills.


This model is predicated on the knowledge that two common traits shared by Enriched students are compassion and concern for others, and curiosity. These traits drive their desire to be leaders.

The model integrates Project Based Learning as a framework and Reciprocal Teaching as a mode of learning (i.e. students learn from one another through a strategic process).

Citizens of the World

Within the principle of civic engagement are several related outcomes:

  • Strengthening community,
  • Fostering a sense of cooperation and collaboration
  • Identifying and mentoring future student leaders
  • Encouraging empathy and developing diverse outlets

for it Connecting what students learn and do in school to the world outside, especially with a view to post-secondary education and careers.

How the Enriched Program is Unique

In order to align the Enriched Program at Western with the school’s core values and goals, we have created a unique model that emphasizes student leadership and empathy. The model is based on a collaborative approach in which students from the Enriched Program, the Student Council and Leadership courses work together at various junctures in their high school careers.


What is Gifted @ Western?

The Gifted Program fosters critical thinking, academic challenge, cross-curricular collaboration, and community leadership. Students enhance their intellectual growth and social development through cooperative inquiry, specialized courses and technological exploration in an environment that fosters creativity and nurtures curiosity. Involvement in diverse learning situations and groups prepares students for exemplary achievement at the post-secondary level. Students emerge from the program with well-rounded and real world skills and knowledge.

What does a Gifted graduate look like @ Western?

All Western Gifted graduates will receive a gifted designation on their diploma as well as a certificate of Community Achievement. Students also have the opportunity to enroll in one of our SHSM programs giving them the addition of the red seal on their diploma indicating a higher level of achievement to post-secondary schools.

The Gifted + SHSM (The Specialist High Skills Major) Advantage @ Western

The Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) is a designation granted by the Ontario Ministry of Education that allows students to focus on a career path that matches their individual skills and interests. Gifted students at Western are encouraged to enroll in one of our SHSMs. These students learn with industry standard equipment and instructors who have worked directly in the field. They also experience on the job training with employers at skills training centres and have the opportunity to enroll in up to two post secondary courses with no tuition costs. Students who complete the SHSM requirements will graduate with a red seal on their diploma. This indicates a universal provincial designation of a higher level of achievement to all post secondary schools no matter what program the student may choose to pursue. For more information go to: